In July, Lufthansa Technik commissioned an automatic heat exchanger cleaning system which uses steam. The system bypasses traditional chemicals and is compatible with the heat exchangers found on the most common jet engines (exchangers between 20 cm and 2 m).
The cleaning process is fully automated and is linked to Lufthansa Technik's new digital workshop, the "Digital Shop Floor". Anna Balka, who is supervising the project, says that "This new system not only demonstrates Lufthansa Technik's innovative power; it also marks another milestone on the way to tomorrow's digitally networked engine maintenance".
The Lufthansa group's MRO division has also specified that its system, which may be protected by the German Patents Office, is particularly effective as all heat exchangers can be completely cleaned in about an hour instead of the average 16 hours it took previously. The new system can also be adjusted specifically to every heat exchanger and its level of contamination.
What's even better is that by combining effectiveness and environmental protection, the new system fits into a "Green MRO" approach, with the same savings in hand as there is no longer any need to process chemicals after they have been used.
Remember that the heat exchangers are used to contain the primary flow temperatures at different levels of the engine (compressor stages, combustion chamber and high and low pressure turbines).